BRADENTON -- Bradenton police are investigating the death of a 23-year-old Bradenton man whose body was discovered Wednesday after an anonymous tip.
Michael Wesley was pronounced dead by emergency medical service personnel called to a residence on the 1900 block of Seventh Ave. E. in Bradenton Wednesday morning.
With a Manatee County victim's advocate at her side, an unidentified female relative burst into tears as Wesley's body was carried off.
"Due to the circumstances, Detective James Curulla and the Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit is currently investigating this incident as a homicide," Bradenton Police Deputy Chief Warren Merriman said in press release.
Police, who arrived at the scene at 9:15 a.m., report Wesley's body had sustained severe trauma to the head.
"We have not determined the force that caused the trauma," Bradenton Police Capt. William Fowler said.
Wesley was alone in the house when EMS arrived.
"We don't know exactly who made the call," Fowler said. "That's what we are trying to determine."
Fowler said it was unclear where Wesley lived, but he apparently lived in the area, if not the home where his body was found. Court records list him as living a block away in the 1800 block of Seventh Ave. E.
The property owner of the home where Wesley's body
was found is Paralee Carter, according to Manatee County property appraisal records.
The address is familiar to police.
"We have dealt with this address before but not recently," Fowler said. "It's been about a month since the last call to this house."
Crime scene tape was draped on a car across the street from the residence where Wesley's body was found, however, Fowler said police are unsure if the car was involved in his death in any way.
Wesley arrested record includes only a 2012 charge of possession of a controlled substance, alprazolam.
This is the fifth homicide in Bradenton so far in 2013, and the sixth overall in Manatee County.
Neighbors and onlookers gathered Wednesday around the crime scene claimed to know nothing.
"It's a close-knit community," said Fowler. "It hampers our job to bring the suspect to justice."
Fowler said the department closes cases faster with cooperation from the community.
"Detective Curulla is asking for assistance," Fowler said.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Curulla at 941-747-3011, ext. 2224, or remain anonymous for a reward up to $1,000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477. An anonymous e-tip can also be sent to manateecrimestoppers.com.
Jessica De Leon, law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.